Pretty Shallow

Commentary doesn’t have much to say this morning. I have campaigns, reports, and playoffs on my mind.

I will say this. I was watching the CNN coverage of the latest mass shooting last night and the Oregon sheriff said he wasn’t going to mention the name of the alleged shooter. Really? Like that is going to prevent the next mass shooting? That’s pretty shallow if you ask me.

Regular mass shootings! Only in America! It is not breaking news anymore. It is reality TV.

How many times have the ‘Stros and the Rangers made it to the playoffs in the same season?

Kuffer went off on the Chron E-Board today on their endorsement in the H-Town City Council At-Large 4 race. Here is how he starts off his take:

“I’m sorry, I don’t get this at all.”

Go to Kuffer to check out his take here: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=69993.

I will try to check out Miley Cyrus and Hillary Clinton on SNL tomorrow night. I sure hope they don’t make Hillary twerk or put her on a wrecking ball.

The ‘Stros and the Rangers made the playoffs in 1998 and 1999 of course.

We just have to win this weekend – period. I will also be rooting for the Rangers over the Angels and the Royals over the Twins. At this point, I will gladly take the second Wild Card slot and hope for the best in the Wild Card game at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday. Heck, we took four of seven against the Yankees this season including two of three in the Bronx. Of course, we have to handle business in Arizona first or nothing else matters.

Commentary has to give a shout out to Adrian Garcia for making a citizen’s arrest. #CatchTheCrooks. (A Bill King Line).

The Chron E-Board tossed the coin so to speak in their H-Town City Council, At-Large 4 pick. Here is how their endorsement ends:

Our choice, and it’s almost a toss-up, is Laurie Robinson, and it’s a choice based on her years of experience with government-related endeavors. Although her opposition to the city’s equal rights ordinance gives us pause – she says she favors an ordinance in principle, but this one has become too divisive – we believe she will be an effective councilmember from her first day in office.

Although we endorse Robinson, we recognize that her chief opponent has the potential to be an influential voice in public affairs and public service for years to come. Whether Amanda Edwards wins or loses this time, it’s a win for Houston if she stays involved.

Here is the entire endorsement take: http://www.chron.com/opinion/recommendations/article/Editorial-For-At-Large-4-6541492.php.

A close call if you ask me. Why didn’t they just do a duelie?

Speaking of defending the record, a couple of days ago Channel 11 had a story on a contract that was issued while Adrian Garcia was still sheriff. Here is a bit from the story:

Harris County Sheriff Ron Hickman has launched an investigation into a so-called “pay-to-pray” contract at the Harris County jail after the KHOU 11 News I-Team discovered a paper trail of hours billed by ministers who were nowhere near the jail.

The chaplaincy program now runs almost entirely on volunteers, after the new sheriff in town called the previous contract with Mike Barber Ministries, Inc. It’s run by former Houston Oilers tight end Mike Barber, a friend of then-Sheriff Adrian Garcia, who signed Barber’s group up for a three-year, $1.1-million deal.


Former Sheriff Adrian Garcia, now a candidate for Houston mayor, is standing by Mike Barber in this written statement:

“For more than 29 years, Mike Barber has been a source of faith, hope and spiritual healing to inmates in facilities throughout Texas. Mike understands the vicious cycle that desperately needs to be broken if we are going to see any type of positive change in our neighborhoods. The spiritual guidance, positive reinforcement and hope for the future provided by his ministries give inmates the best chance to remake themselves as law-abiding citizens in the future. He was also a damn fine football player!”

Here is the entire story: http://www.khou.com/story/news/investigations/2015/09/29/jail-ministry-run-former-houston-oiler-under-investigation/73068244/.

What’s up with the football player mention? Oh, well, like I said yesterday, stay tuned!

Houstonchronicle.com has more behind the paywall: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/politics/election/local/article/Rivals-blast-Garcia-over-jail-ministry-questions-6541507.php?cmpid=btfpm.

Name last season’s AL Wild Card teams?

If you are a fan of baseball like Commentary, then you probably know about the ignorance that fell out of Bud Norris’ pie hole yesterday reacting to a study conducted by USA Today on the make-up of bench clearing brawls in MLB. Here is from the story:

Baseball teams regularly bring together people from diverse backgrounds striving for a common cause, which in the best of circumstances results in the quintessential melting pot. But when the dynamic changes and the bonding element is replaced by the fire of competition, a different kind of brew arises and sometimes boils over.

A USA TODAY Sports study of 67 bench-clearing incidents in Major League Baseball over the past five seasons found the main antagonists hailed from different ethnic backgrounds in 87% of the cases.

Just more than half of them – 34 – pitted white Americans against foreign-born Latinos. Another four featured white Americans and U.S.-born Latinos.

The figures are startling in a sport where white Americans compose about 60-65% of the population. Based on Opening-day figures, most of the rest is made up of players born outside the U.S. (26.5%) – the vast majority from Latin countries – African Americans (8%) and an undetermined number of Latinos born on U.S. soil.


Houston Astros outfielder Carlos Gomez, a main participant in four dugout-emptying episodes in the last three seasons, is beloved by teammates, who feed off his energy and all-out hustle and defend his right to express himself on the field.

Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel calls him “personable and probably one of the better teammates I’ve seen.’’

Opponents, on the other hand, often get irked over Gomez’s flamboyant ways. Less than a month after joining the Astros via a June 30 trade with the Milwaukee Brewers, Gomez got into a yelling match with the New York Yankees dugout after displaying frustration over making an out in a blowout.

Gomez, a Dominican native, argues that he doesn’t try to disrespect opponents and notes that he never looks in their direction when celebrating a good deed. He’ll even tip his hat to an opposing pitcher who has done especially masterful work in getting him out.

“Why can a pitcher show you his emotions and you can’t show yours to him? Those are baseball rules from a different time,’’ Gomez told USA TODAY Sports in Spanish. “It gets to the point where, when you’re by yourself, you think, ‘What did I do? I didn’t do anything inappropriate.’ It’s a bit frustrating, because all I’ve ever done is play the game with passion, with desire, with love, giving it my all, and a lot of people take it the wrong way.’’

Count San Diego Padres pitcher Bud Norris among them. In a conversation about what’s proper on-field behavior and what’s not, Norris mentioned Gomez as a particularly egregious violator of the rules. While praising Gomez’s ability, Norris said some of his actions are disrespectful.
When told the large majority of the benches-clearing incidents involved players of different backgrounds, Norris nodded knowingly.

“I think it’s a culture shock,’’ Norris said. “This is America’s game. This is America’s pastime, and over the last 10-15 years we’ve seen a very big world influence in this game, which we as a union and as players appreciate. We’re opening this game to everyone that can play. However, if you’re going to come into our country and make our American dollars, you need to respect a game that has been here for over a hundred years, and I think sometimes that can be misconstrued. There are some players that have antics, that have done things over the years that we don’t necessarily agree with.

“I understand you want to say it’s a cultural thing or an upbringing thing. But by the time you get to the big leagues, you better have a pretty good understanding of what this league is and how long it’s been around.’’

Here is the entire USA Today piece:

First of all, Norris is definitely a dumbarse for sure. He really must have not ventured out much while he was playing in H-Town a couple of seasons or so ago or he would have gotten a better understanding of diverse cultures. He needs to go look at some of the old clips of Hall of Fame great Harmon Killebrew smacking a dinger. Killebrew wouldn’t start his dinger trot until it landed over the fence. He was never accused of hot dogging it. Maybe it was because he was born in Idaho.

I go to a lot of games. I will tell you what the game doesn’t need. It doesn’t need comments like those from Norris. The number of Latinos playing in MLB is steadily growing. We see it here. We have had bench clearing brawls and players annoying opposing players for as long as I can remember. They have also been playing baseball in Latin America for like forever. Does Minnie Minoso ring a bell? It is not a culture shock thing. USA Today decided to study who the culprits were. They really don’t mention anything about the non-Latinos who were involved.

USA Today had Carlos Gomez involved in four brawls. It also had Zack Grienke, Josh Donaldson, and Madison Bumgarner involved in three each but they didn’t get a profile. It is no big deal.

Baseball is doing OK. Bud Norris is not.

The Royals and A’s were last season’s AL Wild Card teams of course.

Another late night win. We have the day off. Go Rangers! Go Angels! Go Cleveland!

Defending the Record

Commentary has been to most of the H-Town mayoral candidate forums. Last night I went to a church over on South Gessner past Bellfort to check out the latest forum. So I kind of know how the candidates are handling themselves. As mail ballots are being cast and as we get closer to Early Voting in Person, some candidates are having to defend their records more than others.

Marty McVey doesn’t really have a record so he doesn’t have to defend. Chris Bell really hasn’t had to defend his record. Council Member Steve Costello has had to defend Rebuild Houston. Ben Hall has had to defend his record and positions since being City Attorney. Bill King hasn’t had to defend his record as mayor of Kemah but he has had to defend his columns and issue positions. State Rep. Sylvester Turner has had the longest record of service but he has only had to defend attacks from Hall.

Adrian Garcia has made his record of service the centerpiece of his campaign and is now taking some heat for his record as Sheriff. Yesterday, a forum was held at the Wortham Center during the lunch hour and Adrian’s record was criticized by some of his opponents. Here is a part of what the Chron reported:

After taking heat for his management of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Adrian Garcia ducked out of a Houston mayoral debate a half-hour early Tuesday, before moderators opened the floor for candidates to ask each other questions.

Garcia said he had to leave for a prior commitment, even after one of the moderators noted that appointment – an interview with the Chronicle’s editorial board – was scheduled to begin nearly an hour and a half later.

In departing early, Garcia avoided a debate format that has proved tricky for him in recent weeks, as his competitors have taken aim at his record in the sheriff’s office.

Even so, four of the five candidates on stage with Garcia used their rebuttals during a preceding round to criticize the former sheriff’s management skills.

“The sheriff’s office wasn’t working when Adrian was there,” businessman Bill King said, citing the decrease in the department’s rape clearance rate under Garcia’s tenure.

City Councilman Stephen Costello, former Congressman Chris Bell and former City Attorney Ben Hall subsequently chimed in, calling attention to Garcia’s use of an outside consultant during his tenure, as well as a mentally ill inmate left for weeks in a filthy cell in 2013.

“Adrian has to explain how it is that he had a sheriff’s department that could have a mentally challenged person living in a cell for weeks without getting remedial care,” Hall said. “I think that speaks to his management skill and he does have to answer for that.”

Here is the entire article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/politics/election/local/article/Garcia-leaves-mayoral-forum-early-avoiding-6538412.php?cmpid=btfpm.

This was tweeted during the forum:

Rebecca Elliott ‏@rfelliott 21h21 hours ago
Second Q to Garcia, on disappointment about leaving sheriff’s post. Garcia declines to criticize Hickman: “It will be his record to defend.”

Well, he didn’t stick around to defend his own record. There are a few forums and debates remaining so stay tuned.

Name the MLB pitcher who has pitched the most innings this season?

The Kentucky clerk said she met with the Pope for 15 minutes last week. What the heck did they talk about for 15 minutes?

Clayton Kershaw of course leads MLB with 229 innings pitched this season.

I don’t know what to say about our loss last night. We only have four games left. There is not much else I can say.

I don’t think we ought to welcome “Houstonians for the Future,” a Specific-Purpose Committee set up to support Steve Costello for mayor according to the paperwork filed with the H-Town City Secretary on September 14. The committee’s address is located at the offices of Cobb Fendley. It doesn’t take a rocket science major to figure out what is going on here.

Some folks are thinking that some of Costello’s big contributors have maxed out and are now using the Specific-Purpose Committee to donate more cashola to help him out. That’s too bad. It is kind of dissing the process and the rules and circumventing the whole campaign finance set-up.

I hope this doesn’t set a precedent for future H-Town city elections. We don’t need wild-west types of campaigns – do we? We will find out what is going on when the campaign contribution and expenditure reports are filed next week. I am thinking this is a very bad move for H-Town.

On September 26, 2006, the ‘Stros beat the Pirates in Pittsburgh 7-4 to go 79-78 after 157 games. How many games were we out after 157 games back in 2006?

I was one of many who was skeptical when the ‘Stros skipper put Chris Carter back in the starting line-up. I was also one of many who has been proven dead wrong. I am ok with that.

Kris Banks tweeted this yesterday after my take on the Big Puma doing radio ads against the HERO:

Kris Banks ‏@KrisBanks 23h23 hours ago
Lance Berkman lives in Piney Point (not Houston). He can’t even vote on #HERO (h/t @MarcCommentary)

In 2006, after 157 games, the ‘Stros were a game and a half behind San Luis of course.

Well, we are a game and a half back with five remaining. We also have a half game lead over the Angels for the second Wild Card slot. Another late night but at least it ended with a 3-2 win.

The Big Puma cut a spot against the HERO. Here is the spot and the background on the Big Puma’s opposition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=2&v=o3oSDzZxdyg.

Here is from an online story and a tweet:

(Lance) Berkman’s appearance (on the ad) has garnered criticism from many, including former Minnesota Vikings kicker Chris Kluwe.

Chris Kluwe
✔ @ChrisWarcraft
Lance Berkman needs to take a moment and reflect on some basic human traits like “empathy” and “critical thinking.” http://www.outsports.com/2015/9/25/9398997/lance-berkman-houston-equal-rights-hero?utm_campaign=outsports&utm_content=article%3Atop&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter

BTW: I don’t even think the Big Puma is an H-Town voter.

2,153,585 went to see the ‘Stros at The Yard this season. What is our attendance record for a season?

The Chron E-Board put out a duelie yesterday in the race for H-Town Controller – Bill Frazer and Chris Brown. At the end of the endorsement, they took a parting shot at former HCC Trustee and former Council Member and Controller candidate Carroll Robinson. Here is the shot:

However, voters should avoid Carroll Robinson, a former city councilman and former Houston Community College trustee. When he served on the HCC board, Robinson was accused of redirecting a contract to an unqualified friend. In his current campaign, Robinson advocates for casino gambling – a policy far outside the purview of the controller’s office. And when he met with the editorial board, Robinson hinted at Ted Cruz-style obstructionism if elected by refusing to sign city checks.

Here is the entire endorsement take: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/article/For-City-Controller-6530658.php.

I am not surprised at the duelie. They endorsed Council Member Brenda Stardig today. I am not surprised.

The 2004 ‘Stros of course set the attendance record with 3,087,872 folks showing up.

Well, the team sort of handled business this weekend. If the playoffs were to start today, we would be in. The problem is they don’t start today. They start in eight days. We are in Seattle for the next three. The Angels host the A’s and the Rangers host the Tigers.

I wonder if I will ever get to see Tal’s Hill again.

Do or Die Weekend

Only three of the major H-Town mayoral candidates attended last night’s forum sponsored by the Northside Precinct Judges. A number of other civic and service organizations participated. Some folks were not happy that the other four candidates were no-shows. I get that.

I will say that all of the candidates have been pretty good about making these forums and there have been a bunch – well over 30 at last count.

Name the AL team with the least amount of road wins?

I am thinking the Adrian Garcia campaign is not happy with the front page City/State section story on how he handled the Sheriff’s Office. Here is how the story starts:

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office cleared dramatically fewer rape cases under Adrian Garcia compared to his predecessor, a finding opponents are trying to use to undercut the mayoral candidate’s experience as a leader.

Considered by many a front-runner to replace term-limited Annise Parker, Garcia has taken heat from other candidates for the percent of reported burglary, robbery or rape cases that led to an arrest, charge or other resolution – called the clearance rate – under his watch.

Here is what Adrian said:

“No one gave me a memo we were going to be stepping into the Great Recession, and we had a hiring freeze. But I didn’t stop at trying to not only solve the cases we were getting, but I worked to keep cases from coming in. My commitment to putting officers on the street, in spite of the hiring freeze, looking for ways to redeploy deputies out of the jail and put them out on the street and lower the crime rate. So, tough decisions I had to make as a sheriff, tough circumstances – remember, the population exploded in the unincorporated areas of the county.”

Here is the entire article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/politics/election/local/article/Mayoral-rivals-blast-Garcia-for-drop-in-HCSO-rape-6527996.php?cmpid=btfpm.

It looks like it is going to be tough to spin their way out of this one. This isn’t going away.

The U.S. House Speaker is quitting. I am not shedding any tears.

A couple or so folks were grousing over the Chron E-Board endorsement in H-Town City Council District H. I am wondering how many of the grousers have actually seen Karla Cisneros engage with District H voters? You get the picture.

The ‘Stros are at the bottom in the AL with only 29 road wins of course.

It is a do or die weekend at The Yard. We have run out of time. Only nine games left.

The Chron E-Board made their endorsement in the H-Town City Council District H race. Here it is:

Editorial: For District H

Karla Cisneros will work for smartdevelopment in changing neighborhoods.

Copyright 2015: Houston Chronicle
Published 7:01 pm, Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Houston is a city of great diversity, but also economic disparity and segregation, and all these challenges come into full play in District H. The L-shaped district covers the booming single-family neighborhoods of Near Northside and Woodland Heights, and the townhouse rows of the East End. It also covers economically troubled areas north of the 610 loop and industrial developments along Buffalo Bayou toward the Port of Houston. The population is 71 percent Hispanic and nearly half lack a high school diploma, yet the blocks along Navigation Boulevard were recently praised by the insistently hip Vice Media as the scene of Houston’s musical golden age.

These conflicting images paint a picture of a district in transition, and it needs a city council member who is dedicated to harnessing growth to help old neighborhoods. Karla Cisneros is the woman for the job.

Cisneros, who will be 61 on Election Day, works as a teacher but resigned to run for office. She also served on the HISD board of education from 2000 to 2006, including a term as board president. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a Master’s in Architecture from Rice University.

Cisneros told the editorial board that she thought the city’s pensions were unsustainable, but that City Hall needed to honor its promises to employees. She also said that she supported the Houston equal rights ordinance.

However, perhaps more than any other candidate we’ve met during this cycle, Cisneros targeted economic disparity as the key problem facing Houston. This is the sort of thinking that you often hear from policy experts like Rice University’s Dr. Stephen Klineberg, but not nearly enough from our elected officials. “We’re increasingly becoming a city of haves and have-nots,” Cisneros told the editorial board. “The city has a role, and I don’t think they’ve played it very well in supporting the success of children, our families and our neighborhoods.”

While her goals are idealistic, Cisneros’ policy solutions are strictly down-to-earth. She points to community involvement and communication at all levels to help encourage smart development that fits with neighborhoods. She also points to public-private partnerships as a way for new growth to help improve lives of long-time residents.

“Protect what’s important and help people transition into this more-dense, more-urban city that Houston has become,” she said.

Cisneros already has a record of using smart development to help neighborhoods. She led a grassroots effort in Woodland Heights to improve Travis Elementary, including building one of the first SPARK parks. That project helped make the school into the heart of the neighborhood.
Cisneros applies this policy of creating neighborhood cores to Metro, as well.

“One of the opportunities that I see in District H are the 12 Metro [rail] stations that are new,” she told the editorial board. “The stations themselves are nice, but they’re not connected to the neighborhoods around them.”

Cisneros pointed to 380 agreements as a way to transform the stations into transit nodes and encourage economic development.

“We need to be smart about our development and preparing for the future.”

That smart vote would be for Cisneros.

Voters should avoid Abel Davila, a former Houston Community College board member. In the internal investigation known as the Veselka Report, Davila was specifically fingered for violating board policies and his fiduciary duties.


Name the ‘Stro pitcher who has given up the most dingers this season?

Here is another story from the Chron’s Rebecca Elliott on the race for mayor: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/politics/election/local/article/Mayor-s-race-only-now-heading-to-TV-6525207.php?t=8ead44254c438d9cbb&cmpid=twitter-premium.

Commentary is never afraid to say I didn’t know that when I learn something new. Yesterday, I was watching the Pope at the White House and the military band played the Vatican’s national anthem. I didn’t know they had their own anthem tune.

We have fallen big time. Realistically, it is all about fighting for that second wild card slot and maybe a trip to Yankee Stadium.

Collin McHugh of course has given up 18 dingers to opposing players this season.

We have a needed day off. We are 3 back. Keep hope alive!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.